Four years ahead of the planned full steam export of crude oil by Kenya, signs on the ground point to a long and bitter battle on sharing of the proceeds.
Leaders in Turkana and Kerio Valley have scoffed at a government proposal to cut what they are entitled to from an earlier 10 per cent to five per cent, terming it exploitation.
“Our expectations of benefiting economically and socially through new business and emerging job opportunities seem elusive after the national government reduced the sharing revenue formula from 10 to five per cent,” said Mr Eliud Emeri, a civil rights activist.
The State proposes in the latest Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill that the share of oil revenue should not surpass a quarter of the amount allocated to the county by Parliament in the financial year.
“The government needs to allocate the host communities reasonable share of revenue above 10 per cent,” said Mr Micah Kigen from Elgeyo-Marakwet County.
Civil rights groups and leaders in Turkana County and Kerio Valley have threatened to move to court on the issue.
“The proposed law is punitive to host communities,” added Mr Ekwoi Akuru from Nakukulus, Turkana East Sub-county.
In Kerio Valley, residents bordering Lake Kamnarok Game Reserve in Baringo County have vowed not to allow oil extraction in the area unless public participation is done.
Under the Kamnarok Farmers Group, they said they would not move out of their ancestral land until proper arrangements are made to compensate and resettle them.
The Baringo Women Small Scale Holders Farmers Movement are also demanding that they be compensated for their property, including food crops damaged during seismic surveys.
“We don’t oppose development. But it should be well spelt out how we are set to benefit and issued with title deeds first,” said Mike Kipyegon, a member.
Tullow, which has identified Block 12A that runs across Kerio Valley region in Baringo and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties as potential areas for oil exploration has, however, assured residents that they will not lose their land.
Tullow Kenya social performance manager Robbert Gerrits said access to land will only be required on a temporary basis.
The new Bill, sponsored by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, also sets out how contracts will be scrutinised and approved and how firms shall do business.
Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary nominee John Munyes, who was vetted on Thursday, said he would review the licensing regime for oil blocks if approved.